“This offseason, there were a lot of people that reached out to me when they heard I was considering retirement,” Thomas said. “They had an opportunity to talk to me and give their input. One of the guys who actually talked to me was [former offensive coordinator] Kyle Shanahan. He put together a 32-point slide presentation in a PowerPoint telling me why I needed to come back. Unfortunately, that did not work.
“[Former general manager] Ray Farmer tried to text me, but it was during a game, and unfortunately, he was suspended for that.
“[Former coach] Eric Mangini wanted to reach out to me because I had a couple years with him, and he thought it was important to hear a few things from him. But unfortunately, he said I was going to have to ride eight hours with him on a bus to Connecticut if I wanted to hear all about it, so I turned that down.
“[Quarterback] Brandon Weeden still has my phone number, somehow, after all these years. He tried to call me, but he ended up still being stuck under that giant American flag, so he did not get any reception.
“[Former executive vice president of football operations] Sashi [Brown] tried to trade some information with me about my retirement. But unfortunately, it did not get in in time.
“[Former quarterback] Johnny [Manziel] tried to call me from the club, but his money phone apparently did not have very good service.
“In the end, we all know that the reason I retired was because of [former quarterback] Robert Griffin III. It was definitely his fault.”
Thomas, 33, sprinkled other zingers into his speech. He said he would never forget the coach Rob Chudzinski era, adding “both of those days were outstanding.” And he said the real motivation for retiring was to avoid jumping into Lake Erie with coach Hue Jackson. “I didn’t think I would be able to handle it,” he said. “I’m not as tough as I used to be.”
“Goodbye not because I am retiring,” he said, “but because I am merely changing jobs — from being your left tackle to being the No. 1 fan of the Cleveland Browns. Thank you.”